BLOODY BAT ROMEO
The loud cry of a high school girl breaks the silence of a quiet neighborhood one afternoon.
She's cornered in an alley by four young delinquents approaching her. Dirt clings to her long black hair and the red ribbon adorning it as she backs herself onto the wall out of fear.
"There's no need to yell, missy,” says one of the thugs with a devious smirk. “We just wanna have some fun with ya."
"Yeah, we just wanna have some fun!"
"You smell real nice, hehe."
The girl, terrified, pushes herself even further onto the wall, but merging herself with the building anymore isn’t going to happen.
She watches in terror as one of them reaches for her shoulder with his big, ugly hand, before shutting her eyes closed.
"No! Somebody, please save me!"
Her quiet voice breaks as she waits for the worst, knowing that the street is probably empty and that she is on her own. These local gangsters likely see her as easy prey, completely at their mercy.
The sharp sound of bones cracking suddenly startles her.
This time she sees it; a quick flash of something bludgeoning a delinquent across the head from behind, his loud cry of pain ringing in the air as he falls.
The last delinquent standing starts stammering as he backs away, seemingly recognizing the mysterious figure that had taken down his three comrades a moment ago.
The look on his face is full of fear. Sweating, gritting his teeth as he raises a hand to try and stop what's coming. But it's too late. The mysterious, bloodthirsty figure raises the weapon in his hands high up, and the thug starts pleading for mercy.
"P-Please! I-I'll go! Spare meeeee!!"
The girl shuts her eyes again and turns her face away, expecting the same dull crack. But unlike before, the thug continues to sob, even as the loud clang echoes fairly different.
She opens one eye and sees that the delinquent has fallen on his butt, holding his arms above his head as if still expecting an actual hit. His entire body visibly shaking.
The weapon lingers menacingly over the ground next to the delinquent, a chunk of concrete digging out where he'd struck it.
The delinquent crawls back a few meters before standing up and running away in the most graceless fashion, stumbling into a few trash cans.
The girl watches him escape, clutching her chest, her heart still beating fast.
It happened so quickly, she could barely process what just occurred. But her mind slowly starts catching up. She turns to look at the person who had come to save her— her hero.
In front of her stands a young man, wearing a red, long coat lined with fur, over a high school uniform. A black headband messily wraps around his dyed hair. In his hand, he's holding a baseball bat with nails protruding from the end, stained by blood.
His eyes look dark and unreadable.
Slowly, he brings his free hand to his cheek, wiping some drops of blood from his skin. He seems to be lost in a bloodthirsty trance, with his hair wildly draping over his eyes.
The girl thinks he might be enjoying himself, even with the blank expression on his face.
Concerned by this thought, she tilts her head to take a better look at him, and they accidentally lock eyes. It makes the boy blink with a soft gasp, as if coming back to his senses.
The sudden glare causes the girl to cover her mouth with her hand.
With just one glance, the boy can tell the girl is scared out of her mind. Who wouldn't be? She almost got attacked by four bullies; three of them now lie on the ground at her feet, unconscious.
But more than that, she also saw him like this.
Feeling guilty over making her situation worse, the boy gives her a wry, forced smile.
"Um. Sorry about that. I heard you scream, so…are you okay?"
The girl blinks at him; she was not expecting him to address her politely. It calms her down enough to lower her hand away from her mouth again.
She nods in response, but her eyes fall back down to the three guys at their feet, and then to the bat in his hands. She gives him a worried look, gulping.
"Are you also...a delinquent?"
Her question is voiced so softly and gently that the boy is taken aback by it.
What? Can this girl not tell? I'm holding a bat with nails on it. I’m obviously a delinquent, too.
But from the girl's innocent stare, he can tell that her question is genuine.
He wants to spill the truth, of course. But at this moment, it feels like saying the wrong thing will only scare her even more. Instead, he hides the bat behind his back and clears his throat, waving his other hand dismissively.
"Of course not. I-I found this thing abandoned next to the alley, so I picked it up before running in here. Yeah. It must belong to one of these guys, or, something."
Ugh. That sounded fake as hell. There’s no way she’ll fall for that.
But the change in the girl’s expression says otherwise. Her face lights up. Her big, violet eyes look at him brightly like a kid who just found her favorite toy in a vending machine.
She clasps both her hands over the boy's, making him drop the bat in the process with a heavy clang. He looks at her, startled.
His heart beats quicker by the second, and he blinks with confusion.
"I knew it! You're a good guy, aren't you? Hehe."
Oh. She's cute.
"Uh..." the boy tries to answer, but nothing comes out. The girl smiles at him, so brightly, it's almost blinding.
"I knew you couldn't be like those scary, awful boys. You're different. You're like a prince!"
Her warm hands gently holding on to his own, her delicate fingers, her childlike excitement— they melt something inside the boy's heart.
Oh, no. She has it all wrong, huh.
But then again, does it matter? They don't know each other. They'll never see each other again. This is merely a chance encounter, so actually—
"Ah! Your uniform!" she blurts out suddenly, letting go of his hands and clapping her own together excitedly. "We go to the same high school! How wonderful!"
"I'm Yuri. What's your name?" She introduces herself excitedly.
The boy responds out of reflex, still unsure of why his chance encounter is suddenly turning into a proper meeting.
"Romeo! What a lovely name!"
She gives him another polite nod, lifting her head just as the sunset splashes her face with an ethereal, pink light. Romeo's heart feels like it'll burst out of his chest just from looking at the sight.
"Thank you very much for saving me today Romeo. I have to get back home now or my brother will get worried, but I do hope I get to see you again soon."
With one last bow, she excuses herself; the faint fragrance of lilies lingering in the air after she leaves.
If Romeo had heard the thugs harassing her before his arrival, he would, unfortunately, have to agree with them on one thing.
She sure smells nice.